At LIV Student, we know that you a have a jam-packed schedule, your dairy is loaded with events, and trying to cook a cheap and healthy meal seems impossible some nights. Well don’t worry, not only do we have massive kitchens in our apartments made for cooking—we’ll also guide you on your quest to be fit and happy with some meal-prep inspo. Try out these recipes with your flatmates or on your own, they’re perfect meals for uni students on a budget.
Preparing meals as a group is not only fun, but your mates can hold you accountable for healthy eating habits. (We also have a 24/7 gym and virtual PT to help with that!) Our flats have communal spaces made for both cooking and relaxing – Netflix and chill anyone? Take advantage of the space and plan an evening in cooking with your flatmates or friends.
Not sure what to cook? Here are a few fun and affordable ideas for recipes, that are adaptable for various dietary needs and budget-friendly.
Pizza is a classic meal for uni students. Create large pizzas to feed a crowd, or make personal pizzas for yourself. Pro tip: naan bread makes for easy personal pizza crusts, plus they’re cheap!
Make your pizza healthier by loading it up with fresh toppings like mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, or fresh herbs. To skimp on calories, try a thin pizza crust, or make your own. Looking to cut carbs? Opt for a cauliflower pizza crust.
This dish is perfect for Sunday lunch. You can make it family style and share with your pals or meal prep a big batch for quick and easy lunches and dinners for the week ahead. Try this recipe that has both meat and vegetarian protein options.
If you’ve got more time (and patience), traditional lasagna is another classic option. Make the prep fun with your friends, think lasagna layering assembly line. Flip on a film as the dish cooks. If you’re looking to make it lighter, use whole wheat noodles and low-sodium sauce.
Chili Con Carne
Chili con carne (or vegetarian chilli) is a fab big-batch meal for uni students. Beans are cheap, and most recipes can be adapted to fit both vegetarian or vegan diets. If you have a slow cooker, try out this recipe. Simply throw the ingredients together in the morning and let the slow cooker do the work while you pop off to your morning lectures!
Make a night of it—have friends come over and bring chilli toppings (cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc.) to add to the flavour, and serve over rice to really bulk out the dish. Leftovers store well, so don’t be afraid to cook for a crowd.
Stir-fry is a bargain meal, quick and nutritious, and can be made for just one or a group. Any veg or meat can be added to accommodate everyone’s taste (bell peppers, onions, and bean sprouts are our favourites). Make a simple sauce with soy sauce, lime juice, and honey. Add some brown rice to round out the meal.
The best meals finish with a great dessert, but sweet treats don’t have to be unhealthy. Granola cookies are chewy and delish but filled with wholesome ingredients like oats, fruits, and nuts. Use any dried fruit you like, or let’s be real, just use what’s on sale at the supermarket. For extra sweetness, add cacao nibs, or opt for peanut butter for added protein.
Bonus: this is a brilliant way to make new mates—who can turn down a neighbour with fresh-baked cookies?
Cooking for one without breaking the bank can be difficult. To keep it cheap, focus on meals that use the same ingredients in different manners.
While you can indulge in roasted chicken all on its own, having the cooked meat on hand is beneficial for other recipes. Buzzfeed walks you through how to make a foolproof and delicious roasted chicken for any palate. Most major supermarkets have whole roasted chickens available for purchase as well, in case you’re running short on time. To really stretch your change, save the carcass to make homemade stock for soups.
On its own, those dirt-cheap packets of ramen are pretty basic (also salty and not necessarily healthy—gross). However, the noodles can be fancied up to create something healthy and delicious. Toss out the seasoning packet to reduce sodium, instead use garlic, ginger and oil for a sauce. Steam some fresh ingredients (bell peppers, carrots, bok choy) and add your roasted chicken for protein. Vegetarians can sub in an egg or tofu for your protein option.
Ramen is great for a night alone because packages are a single serving. However, with a few more noodles, you can easily feed this dish to the whole hall.
Rice and Beans
Cans of beans are a steal, making bean-based dishes an excellent meal for uni students. Mix black beans or kidney beans with brown rice or quinoa. Add chicken or roasted veg for a balanced meal. Check out these ideas for even more rice and bean-based recipes.
Salads don’t have to be boring! They are often low in fat, high in protein, and very affordable. The secret to a filling salad? Add chickpeas, chicken, canned tuna, or a hard-boiled egg to help keep you full throughout the day. Hemp hearts are also a great salad topping that can add protein. Salads can be prepared at the start of the week for easy meals on the go. Try using a jam jar for easy transportation. If you need more inspiration, check out this chicken BLT salad or this delicious vegan bowl.
Crafting Healthy Meals for Uni Students
Eating healthy on a budget, in the midst of your busy schedule can seem like a challenge. But we promise you it doesn’t have to be! The apartments at LIV Student have the perfect communal kitchens to cook with your mates or solo, not to mention get your meal prep on.